Through an arranged marriage, Hassan's father, Ali, married his first-cousin, Sanaubar--a woman with a notorious reputation who was 19 years younger than her husband. While Ali was crippled with polio and stricken with a terrible limp, Sanaubar was renowned for her beauty. Her
... brilliant green eyes and impish face had, rumor has it, tempted countless men into sin... Sanaubar's suggestive stride and oscillating hips sent men to reveries of infidelity.
Like her husband, Sanaubar was a Hazara and Shi'a Muslim; but unlike Ali, "who had memorized the Koran," Sanaubar's primary interests were neither motherly nor religious. When she saw that her newborn son, Hassan, had a cleft lip, she refused to take him in her arms. Five days later, she was gone, running off
... with a clan of traveling singers and dancers.
Sanaubar would return to Baba's house long after he and Amir had left for America. She had lost her beauty but had gained a desire to finally get to know her son--and grandson, Sohrab.